Get to know your grands — before finale
As the longtime administrator at Rochester's Charter House retirement community, and today as a 72-year-old grandparent himself, Dick Edwards is well-schooled on the importance — and ultimate fragility — of the grandparent-grandchild relationship.
"The relationship between grandchildren and grandparents is special," he said. And "I know that if histories aren't captured, they can be lost."
Such thinking led Edwards to publish his latest book, "My Grandparent: A Life & Times Journal for Grandchildren of All Ages."
Recently released, the 102-page book consists mainly of sheets of blank, lined paper, headed with questions such as "What was life like in the town where you grew up?" and "Tell about what you first left home to live on your own" and "What is something you would still like to do if you have the chance?"
In other words, most of the writing is up to you.
Other books have been published to solicit grandparents' histories, Edwards says, but his is different.
"Mostly what I've seen out there is, 'Here, Grandpa, fill this out,'" he said. "This (book) is an interactive process. It requires a degree of commitment."
One family has been using his book since it first came out about a month ago, Edwards said.
"They're doing it face-to-face, sharing memories, capturing stories," he said. "The process strengthens the bond between grandparent and grandchild."
Edwards is author of a previous book, "Mom, Dad ... Can We Talk?," published in 2009, and an active public speaker.
He co-wrote "My Grandparent" with Korrin S. Hawkins, an author and illustrator of children's books who lives in Roberts, Wis., not far from rural Menomonie, where Edwards now lives.
More than just grandparent-grandchild relationships — all relationships matter to Edwards.
"I hope that things I write about and the way I write speak to that," he said. "A lot of what I write is just to get people to stop and think."
"My Grandparent: A Life & Times Journal for Grandchildren of All Ages" is a print-on-demand book available through online booksellers and Dick Edwards' own site, mygrandparentjournal.com. It costs $14.95.